Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Time for Something New - Part 4 -Grand Finale!

This is part 4 in a series I'm writing about my first experience making a tank top for myself.  My goal was to have this series finished by the end of June...well, it's about to be August and I'm not waiting any longer...Due to some technical issues with the website and transferring photos, there was a huge delay in time as well as a learning curve for finishing seams...Well, the garment is done and I'm now presenting it as best as I can!  I'm pretty proud of it and can't wait to make my next garment! 

I shared in my last post of this series that I had only made my stepdaughter a purple dress (remember the pictures?) several years ago, but I haven't made any garments since.  Why not?  I really don't know.  I've been so busy with client quilts that I haven't really even had time to consider even doing it.

This is the #yearofme though and I'm not neglecting me anymore.  All moms can relate to this.  After Bailey was born, I became a second thought.  Well, not even second.  I was the last possible thought in my head.  Everyone else came this year, I'm making stuff for me too!  At least that's the goal.  I'm making this top and also my Block of the Month sampler quilt top will be mine!  My first ever quilt that I will have made for me and me alone.

If you're interested in participating in a FREE Block of the Month - feel free to check out the Block of the Month page where every month I post a new block to add to our sampler quilts.  You may not want a sampler quilt, and that's fine too!  Make it in whatever colors you want and however you want!  Feel free to join me on my BOM adventure learning new but basic skill building blocks for our quilting toolbox.  I'd love to have you along!

Back to our something new....

Now with our pattern pieces cut out, it's time to make a top!  (Hopefully!)

My original goal was to have this series completed before July 1st...well, life happens right and that usually makes us stop doing the things we love : i.e. sewing and quilting.  So today...let's see if we can get through this pattern!

When I was at Becky & Pam's place getting one on one instruction time, they both recommended a new brand of scissors to me: KAI.  I had never heard of them.  I have a great pair of GINHAM scissors, but when I used these KAI scissors...oh my.  It cut like a hot knife through butter!

After reading a few Facebook group posts on tips and how to cut out patterns straight, it came to me...most new sewers do not invest in proper scissors.  I didn't.  I had the cheapest pair I could find and it added so many headaches to my sewing abilities that I just didn't use them.  I just used my rotary cutter for sewing and scissors for trimming threads as needed while I quilted and I stayed away from garments and other great projects.  You get the jest, right?

So before we go any further...and if you want a pair of awesome scissors, here's the link I found to the KAI Sewing Scissors Site.  We used the Dressmaker scissors, I believe, and this site has them for only $25.  I couldn't believe how cheap they were compared to my GINHAM scissors.  They were amazing, so if you want a pair, grab them.  I'm not an affiliate, just sharing my experience.

The other important tip that you need to know before you start sewing is that you are NOT sewing 1/4" seam like you do with quilting.  Each pattern will have your seam allowance identified in the instructions.  Be sure you mark that!  My seam allowance in this pattern states 1/2", but know that 5/8" is also common.  I went ahead and marked a 1/2" on my machine AND used the seam guide.  I knew I would forget and go back to 1/4".  (SPOLIER ALERT:  I did anyway.)

Without giving too much info from the pattern away...We took the front piece of fabric and created a small ruffle at the top of the neckline.  The directions from the pattern were to make each pleat but Becky knew a way to do a few basting stitches and then pulled the threads to get a slight ruffle in the end.  It was like magic.

We then sewed the sides, without using a serger.  Just my amazing Featherweight!  Then the tops where the shoulders are.  {For the details and specifics you will need to purchase the pattern.  I'm not trying to steal anyone's pattern information, but I'm sharing my experience on how well it came together.}

Next, comes the hardest part in my opinion...the finishing part.  We did not do bias binding, but FACING.  NOT INTERFACING.  I know, right?  I was confused too.   Pam took the pattern and created FACING patterns by drawing them and pinned them to the extra fabric we had remaining and then I cut them out, sewed them together...and they pinned them to the garment for me to sew on.

Once the FACING was on, it was so hard to use the iron to turn the facing to help finish the seam with a top stitch.  Hemming the bottom with it being curved was very hard for me too.  I'm pretty sure it's not a perfect hem.

So what's the difference between FACING and INTERFACING?  Well, I found a website with videos that explains it way better than I could, so check this one out!

I won't lie.  I stared at the unfinished garment for about a week before I had the nerve to do the final hems.  It did scare me.  I tried and tried to figure out how to hem with the curved bottom edge and I finally found a way that I would not be upset or disappointed with.  Where did I find this wealth of information to discover the way to finish the hem without a serger?  The internet.  Youtube, to be exact.  I found a video from Hobby Lobby, of all places, that identified 6 different ways to finish a seam without a serger.  It was actually an amazing video and I saved it.  Here's the link to it:  Hobby Lobby's Magic Video.  I renamed it myself, for linking purposes such as this.  LOL.

If I had known how to do the hem already or was with Becky & Pam longer - I could have started this top and finished in less than 5 hours.  I met up with Becky & Pam at around 2PM and left their house around 5:30PM and had all but the final hems (bottom and neckline) done.

Final thoughts on the pattern...If you are a brand new beginner to sewing garments, then it's a bit tough.  The language used in the pattern for instructions was not well written for a beginner, in my opinion.  I'm so glad I had help from Becky & Pam!

What do you think?

Ignore my messy sewing & quilting area...You can see some secret sewing popping out in this photo!  Uh oh...Does anyone notice?

Creativity thrives in messiness, right?  Uh...That's my story.

View from the back - with lots of room in the shoulders!

I absolutely love how loose and comfy this top is!  I also love that it's COTTON & STEEL fabric!

Overall, I'm ecstatic about sewing for myself!

I hope you are too!  This top just makes me happy.  I love the colors and the BOLD YELLOW EARRINGS I can wear with them!  THIS IS WHERE I FOUND THEM TO BUY - $5!



Happy Sewing!

Friday, July 26, 2019

Fabulous Sources for Free Patterns!!

Have you ever been perusing the blogs and found someone so awesome that you felt you should tell your friends about? Well, only two of my friends sew and they live far away from we share pictures and such and even one of them told me about this first blog that I must share with you!

The first one?  That's right, I found 3!

Image from Melly Sews Blog
The FIRST blog that you must check out is Melly Sews!  Have you heard of her?  Her real name is Melissa...She shortened it for her blog.

She lives in Austin, Texas and has an amazing site you must see to believe!  She offers over 80 free patterns!  She has great patterns with easy to use instructions....and there are YouTube videos to even SHOW you how!

I just watch the video for How to Sew Underwear (which btw, happens to be the #1 tutorial for her in 2018!).  Let's just say I'm about to add to my underwear wardrobe!  Sign up for her weekly newsletter and you gain access to all of her updates and new tutorials!  I did!

The SECOND website/blog I must share with you is called Patterns for Pirates...but don't worry, no one is stealing patterns...There are however, 39 free patterns here!  Mens, womens, childrens patterns...accessories...all unique!

-Image from Patterns for Pirates-

The THIRD website/blog I had to tell you about is REBECCA-PAGE PATTERNS.  Have you ever heard this company?  This is amazing!  Currently, this site has 51 patterns FREE!  This site also has a newsletter and I did sign up for it and I recommend you do it too!  This site shares when they add new patterns and it's often!  They put patterns on sale all the time and you don't have to wait for a great deal to someday'll come.

I found this company to be absolutely awesome and they just recently put out a request looking for pattern testers, brand ambassodors and affiliates!  I of course, filled out their application!  This is a great company to be associated with.  If you're interested in being a pattern tester, check out their blog and read all of the details to sign up!

My next pattern will be one of Rebecca Page's patterns.  Do you know which one?  Check out their free patterns and download the Toronto Tee!  I'll be shopping for knits this weekend!

I've been downloading free patterns like crazy!  I have found a few that I purchased too.  What is your favorite pattern site?  Share it on the comments!


Saturday, July 20, 2019

Officially Back from Vacay!

I'm back!  Back from a gorgeous Colorado, but happy to be back in Texas!  The views of the snow on the mountaintops and the incredible temperatures with only 50% humidity felt like spring or early fall every single day in Texas...even when the locals were complaining about the heat, I would just chuckle.  This wasn't heat.  It was heaven!  Here are some of my favorite photos from the trip.

I literally would see the views around me and immediately thought how awesome God is to have created such a beauty for us to enjoy.  It was gorgeous!

There were waterfalls all around the mountain as the ice and snow was still melting from the tops.  Wildlife was all around as well.  It was just so relaxing seeing nature so calm and inviting.

Snowball Fight! 
There was still snow in July!  
Can you believe it?!  

And my favorite view of all...the view from the hot tub at the spa that my sister-in-law & hubby surprised me with!  Forgive my white feet -- I know they were blinding!

All vacations must come to an end...and when we got back it seemed like there was always something to slow me down from getting home and settled.  The car wouldn't start at the airport.  Ever had that happen?  Ever had to pay the airport for a jump? WOWZER!  That was a hefty bill.

We finally got home and then while unloading the dirty clothes from our suitcases...and loading the wash into the dryer - the dryer stopped working too.  Always something right?  There were other issues too...but let's get to the happy stuff!  QUILTING!

Well, to get my mind focused...I started my mini quilt project for a photographer friend of mine.  You may remember that I mentioned this before vacay...Remember the post about sewing nine fabrics from your stash?  On June 7's blog post I mentioned that a friend of mine and I have been in discussions about making a baby quilt - or a mini quilt - smaller than a fat quarter -  for one of her props.  I'm very excited about this!  Here are some pictures of the progress. You can follow the progress more closely on our Instagram page!
IG - My Charmed Cabin Life

This mini quilt will measure 18 3/4" square to fit a photographer's newborn baby prop bed or doll bed.  This measurement is specific to my friend's newborn bed prop.  If you get the urge to make one for your child's doll bed, you may want to measure the bed.  I have found that not all beds are the same.  

I also got one of my memory quilts back from the long arm quilter!  I made that happy delivery Monday...and forgot to take a picture.  The weather was really bad with the Tropical Storm Barry and I heard the recipient had a rough day, so I hoped the delivery would turn the day into a good one....and thus forgot about taking a picture.  It worked though - happy client!

July is almost over, which means summer is almost over...How is your #UseNine2019 going this year?  If you are not familiar with this, this is the challenge to use nine fabrics from your stash this year...not just for the summer...not just this season, but all year long.

I took pictures of the fabrics that I had intend to use, but I have found my projects have changed...just since June!  Life as a quilter, LOL!  I believe my cotton quilt and watermelon quilt will have to wait.  I just received a client who desires a #THINBLUELINE or police themed quilt for a friend who is retiring from law enforcement.  I do have some of that fabric in my stash, but I will need to buy more!  LOL!  I also want to finish making (finish implies that I started, right?  OOPS) curtains for the deer camp.  I've only purchased the fabric...and slightly thought about how I want the design of the curtains.  Time to get cracking on that!


Monday, July 1, 2019

July's Block of the Month

Image from Google Memes
Summertime is a crazy time for my family.

My husband likes to travel and see everyone in his family and to make July's Block of the Month had to be a super simple block!

Seriously, the traveling and activities he has planned for this month is like he thinks I'm Wonder Woman.  I really don't know how we are going to get it all done...but dang it, I guess we're gonna try.

I will be on vacation starting June 30-July 11.  So be sure to watch the IG and FB pages for updates and fun sewing ideas I find on the road...The Blog here will get a break from posts until the week of July 15th.

Image from Google Memes

It's summer time...and most people are outside enjoying the pool, the sun, the beach, and most of all - their families.  I get it...a lot of people won't be sitting at their sewing machines when it's sew beautiful outside and the kids are running around free from school and ready for fun.  Who can blame them?  I don't want to either...Although I'm already missing my machine and I haven't even really started packing yet.

So which block did I decide to make for July's BOM and still have plenty of time for family, fun, and travel?

I choose to make the …. Four Patch a 12.5" block size.  Can you say super sized?


I was too honestly when I came up with the idea.  Although, this block seems very simple, it fits our year long theme of "Going Back to the Basics".  Just Googling "Four Patch Block" yields nearly 67,000,000 results.  It's not a new block, but your options are endless!

The Four Patch Block has been around in quilting for what appears to be, since the beginning...and there is now a huge variation of four block quilt patterns thanks to the many, many quilt designers we now have access to on the world wide web.

Cutting this block will take you back to the basics of quilting for sure!

Practicing your ruler cutting for 6.5" square and also matching up the one and only center seam will let you relax and take the time to get it right, hopefully the first time!  Then it's off to enjoy some summer fun for you!

Pairs across sewn...

I simply choose 4 fabrics that have been in the background of the other blocks thus far and cut one 6.5" square from each of the 4 fabrics.

I arranged them in a way that I felt complimented each other and then sewed across (pairs) and then across the middle matching the seam.

Simple, right?

Well, I have been sewing and piecing a different quilt block for the last 2 days and couldn't get my seams to line up.  I had to rip out every single one and redo them at least once.  I thought I had it almost together, until I saw it...

I finally stopped, took a break, and a shower...and came back to see a four patch quilt in my Pinterest feed.

My first thought of the Four Patch Block was that's a super simple block...I just need it large enough for 12.5"!  Well, how much easier is this math, right?  I remeasured every chance I could, because as my luck had been lately, I knew it had to be off.  Maybe I didn't have enough coffee today and would still add it up wrong?  I had hope though..and it seems that it is going to work!

I even laid it out with all of my blocks and it does seem to help bring out those fabrics that I love that have been used in the background of the other blocks for my made for me quilt.

Enjoy Summer!  I'll be back in the middle of July here on the blog!

Happy Quilting!